Posted: July 1
Early Access Review
On the surface this game seems to improve on a lot of things from Vampire Survivors. The classes/characters are more unique than just a specific stat bonus. Builds can be more varied. Bosses are more than just big versions of normal monsters.
But, after playing for a while and getting most of the achievements, there’s some core design problems. The unlimited inventory feels like a blessing at first, but it removes all tension of picking a build. If you want you can take literally every single available weapon/upgrade during a run. Some, like the shield, are only worth taking one or two levels from and then can just be ignored with no penalty. And you get so many rerolls that it’s easy to hunt down exactly what you want for your build. So the in-game decision making is almost nill.
It’s also EASY. I beat the first level on my third try. First try went to 20 minutes, second to 30, and third beat the final boss. You can even win rounds by picking your upgrades completely by random. The challenge mode sliders become a necessity if you want to maintain any sense of tension as you level up. It sort of makes upgrading a pointless exercise: you’re grinding resources to buy upgrades just to bump up the slider and resetting the challenge.
It’s not a bad game, I’ve mostly had fun and I definitely got my $3 worth, but I’m not going to be jumping back in with every update like I’ve been doing with VS. I’ll be back in six months and see where it is then and maybe update this review.
EDIT: Hey, a developer reply. I’ve never gotten one of those. Keep it up, I think there’s a lot of potential here, but it’s not there yet. As of this writing there are three levels to choose from. The first is an open plane, the second is a narrow crossroads, and the third is a maze-like dungeon. The third is the weakest of the lot, design wise, because it adds too many new mechanics all at once. You’ve got enemies with ranged attacks for the first time, you’ve got AoE enemies for the first time (outside of bosses), and there are persistent environmental attacks that cannot be destroyed and have to be dogged which force you to run in circles for ten minutes and are just un-fun.